This post contains affiliate links, and we may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking them.
With summer right around the corner, you may be considering planning a trip with your pup in tow. Bringing them along for the ride can be a less stressful and more cost-effective alternative to leaving them at home or in boarding, which can double your vacation expenses. But as any seasoned traveler knows, hitting the road or taking to the skies with your pooch requires some extra planning.
Whether you're a seasoned pet parent asking "How can I travel with my dog?" or a new parent figuring out the basics of puppy travel, let's explore the best ways to ensure a smooth, tail-wagging journey for everyone involved. Read on to discover our best tips for traveling with a dog.
Choosing the right mode of transportation for your dog is a critical step in your travel planning. Like humans, dogs have their preferences and comfort zones. As a result, your chosen mode of transport can significantly impact everyone’s travel experience.
A cross-country road trip might be a thrilling adventure for a large, curious breed, while a short flight could be the best bet for a smaller or older dog that prefers to snuggle in its carrier. This decision depends on various factors, including the distance you’ll be traveling and your dog's:
Just remember: when you're deciding how to travel with a dog, you want your pup to end up at the destination happy and relaxed, and not stressed or fearful.
For those long drives, preparing the car for your dog can make all the difference. Start by choosing a safe, secure space for your dog. A crate or a car barrier can be great options to ensure their safety. If you’re both new to car travel with a dog, make the space inviting by covering the seats with a cozy blanket and securing any loose items that could tumble and startle them. Here are our top picks for car seat covers:
Throughout the journey, look out for your dog's comfort and well-being. Make frequent stops for bathroom breaks and exercise — a game of fetch at a rest stop can be the perfect energy burner! Keep them hydrated and satiated with water and snacks, but avoid heavy meals to prevent car sickness.
It’s a little known fact that dogs can experience travel sickness just like humans. If your pup is prone to nausea during long car journeys, we highly suggest consulting your vet before hitting the road. There are several prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies such as Dramamine that can help settle your dog’s tummy during car trips.
Lastly, maintain a calm environment by playing soothing music or using natural anxiety remedies like a vet-approved melatonin supplement or CBD oil.
Puppy travel by plane can be a bit more complex, but with careful planning, you can ensure a smooth flight. First, check the specific pet policies of the airlines — some are more pet-friendly than others. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Southwest Airlines are all known for having pet-friendly policies, but there are certain requirements to meet. Typically, this can include a health certificate, up-to-date vaccinations, and adherence to size and weight restrictions.
If you're venturing abroad, be prepared for different customs policies. Every country has its own rules and regulations regarding pet travel, so make sure to check everything as far in advance as possible! Carry copies of all records — both physical and digital. It’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with international pet travel regulations.
Before the flight, prepare your pup’s crate or carrier to ensure maximum comfort. Pack it with their favorite toys and treats and consider calming aids like pheromone sprays or supplements. As always, consult your vet before any long trip or change in routine in case they recommend any supplements for the trip. The best way to travel with a dog starts with lots of preparation.
Traveling with a puppy, while adorable, presents unique challenges. Make their first travel experiences pleasant by preparing a small, secure crate or carrier lined with a comfortable blanket or towel. You can also include chew toys or treats to help them stay calm and entertained.
Understanding how to travel with a puppy is crucial as their needs are a little different from adult dogs — they’ll require more frequent bathroom breaks (every hour or two) and some extra care, which means long-haul flights can be a bigger challenge. If you’re taking them on a road trip, remember to always use a harness and leash when outside the car to prevent any impromptu games of chase.
Lastly, keep your puppy well-fed and hydrated during the trip. Offer small, frequent meals and water breaks to prevent upset stomachs and dehydration. With these puppy travel tips, your little one's first trip will be a tail-wagging success!
When you're on the road with your pup, finding pet-friendly accommodation is not just a perk — it's a necessity! After all, the best way to travel with a dog is to make sure they feel comfortable with where they rest those paws at the end of the day.
Before booking any hotel, resort, or vacation rental, verify their pet policies. Some accommodation providers may have specific restrictions regarding dog size, breed, or number of pets allowed. You'll need to ask a few important questions such as:
Some hotels and rentals might state they are pet friendly, but you should always confirm the specifics to make sure they are truly accommodating to your dog. Get confirmation in writing as much as possible! You don’t want to embark on your adventure only to face difficulties once you check in.
Once you've found the perfect pet-friendly accommodation, there are a few strategies to make the stay comfortable for both you and your dog. For example, if you plan to leave your dog unattended in the room, provide the hotel or Airbnb with an emergency contact number.
Keeping your dog calm and quiet in unfamiliar surroundings is vital, so consider bringing along familiar items from home like their bed or a favorite blanket. This can provide a sense of security and help minimize noise and disruptions.
To prevent any possible damage to the room, you might need to crate your dog when you're not present or use a pet gate to block off areas. Also, try to regularly clean up after your dog to maintain a fresh and tidy space.
Camping with your dog can be a fantastic bonding experience. However, it's essential to research local camping sites for any pet restrictions or requirements. Check whether they allow dogs, what their leash policy is, and if there are any restricted areas.
Don't forget to ask if there are any additional fees for bringing a pet. It's always better to know before you get to the campsite! Camping can be a memorable experience for you and your dog, but preparation is key for a pleasant outdoor adventure.
Once you've settled into your accommodation, it's time to explore and have some fun! Many cities and towns offer a plethora of dog-friendly activities. From local dog parks and hiking trails to welcoming beaches and restaurants, the possibilities are endless when you're traveling with your furry family member.
Researching these options before traveling is key since it will allow you to plan your itinerary around your dog's needs and interests. If you’re headed to Dallas, check out our guide on fun things to do with your pup in Dallas. Whether you're visiting the Lone Star State or elsewhere, you'll be surprised at the number of activities you and your pup can do together.
Part of the joy of traveling with your dog is making new friends — both canine and human. Local dog parents can be a treasure trove of information, and they might even share some hidden gems that aren't listed in traditional guides, so don't hesitate to strike up a conversation at the dog park or a pet store.
Dog-friendly activities vary depending on your location, but here are a few universal favorites to consider:
We hope you find our tips for traveling with a dog useful. It's no secret that traveling with dogs can get a little messy. From romping on dog-friendly beaches to trotting through city parks, your dog can accumulate quite a bit of dirt, debris, and unseen bacteria on their fur and paws. This accumulated dirt can potentially cause skin or coat issues if not addressed promptly.
Your pup can greatly benefit from a professional grooming session once you return home. Dog grooming is not just about aesthetics either — it also contributes to your dog's overall well-being. Book an appointment with Barkbus and treat your pup to a rejuvenating spa-like experience!